At the Bakka Castle
On the other hand, Maki and Chiharu were taken to a village near the Lowland mountains within that day. And after staying there for one night, they were carried to a castle town called Bakka. They had only meant to gather information, but as the whole affair had become quite larger than that, they could not just go through without saying anything. And so they all had to appear somberly before the king.
However, it wasn’t all bad.
Aeris had been waiting at the castle. Apparently, he had returned after seeing Grudo and Van off and making a report of the dispatch of soldiers.
He embraced both of them tightly. While they had decided on their own to go out, they had still been flung around by the situation, and they were tired. It had been a while since Maki and Chiharu felt such relief.
“I can’t believe it. So this is the White Philosopher.”
Aaron muttered in surprise. The White Philosopher was known to be of a calm disposition, who was only interested in research and going to Midland for fun. He was supposed to be a solitary figure. And when Aaron had seen him at the elf castle, the person seemed to match this description.
The straight back, long strides, and flowing robes. The downcast eyes and the intricately braided platinum hair that hung ever so gently over his face. His appearance was enough to cause younger elf servants to sigh. But it was said that no one ever caught the interest of the White Philosopher. However, that was clearly a lie.
The proof was in front of him.
“Chiharu. Maki. Did anything happen to you? You look so tired. You should have ignored those pesky merfolk.”
After embracing them tightly, he leaned forward and cupped Chiharu’s face as he gazed into her eyes. Maki chuckled to herself and took a step back in order to see better.
Chiharu didn’t feel any guilt as the Philosopher’s hand rested under her chin, however, from afar, this looked like lovers speaking to each other softly, and some of those around them blushed.
“I’m fine. But it was pretty hard…”
Chiharu began to say. However, Aeris embraced her once again.
“Oh, I know. I know. It’s fine now…”
“Uh, huh… I think it’s you who isn’t fine, Aeris…”
Even with her face buried in Aeris’s chest, Chiharu’s voice reached Maki’s ears, causing her to chuckle even louder.
“White Philosopher. We are trying to talk here. Surely you are finished now.”
Finally, King Kilian complained with a loud cough. He had lost patience and come out himself in order to hear their report. Even Arthur would have likely done the same.
Royals in this world were not too strict when it came to formalities, and they cared more about efficiency.
“I’m sorry. I was just so worried.”
Aeris said as he took a step behind Chiharu and Maki.
“Uh, there is no need for you to be here, Philosopher.”
“I will accompany them from here to the elf lands. My presence should not be a problem.”
Aeris insisted. Aaron looked troubled, but Maki gave him a look that said it was alright, and so Aaron nodded.
“Father. I don’t see why he can’t remain. He already knows everything. More importantly, I think we should move to the office.”
He was able to settle the matter, and so they decided to move to the office.
Once they all sat down in the office, Edwy represented them and explained what had happened. Of course, he left out the parts where Maki and Chiharu snuck out at night, and the part where they were drinking in secret.
“There are dungeons inland? Outrageous. But it’s the farthest away from the Shadow Land… And weren’t you just going to get information about the chief…? But you helped him and returned…”